From national security to an insecure spouse, spying has crept into every sphere of life. For the spy it is no big deal to track your activities and get hold of important data by injecting malicious malware, such as cell phone spyware or computer monitoring software. In a similar fashion, Microsoft is gearing up to spy on millions of its users through Skype. Although the news is still unconfirmed, it has still generated a huge hype over Microsoft’s apparent collaboration with Skype to spy over its users.
Rumor spread like fire
The rumor has it that Microsoft is upgrading its Linux servers to make spying easier – later confirmed by a major newspaper, Washington Post – claimed that its reliable sources inside the company has confirmed that Skype was spying text chats. However, the Corporate Vice President of ‘Skype Product Engineering’ & Operations, Mark Gillett, while trying to set the record straight has rejected any news about spying, stating them to be nothing more than rumors.
The CVP made an attempt to address the concerns of Skype’s users regarding privacy and security issues, by writing a post on the Skype blog – saying that every single accusation made against the company is false and that they are still the consumer friendly company they have always been.
All these accusations spurred when changes were made to Skype’s architecture. Explaining the purpose of these changes, Gillett said that Skype made the changes “to provide the best possible product to our users” – emphasizing that the company was already midway through the changes when they were acquired by Microsoft.
Holding onto the traditions
Speaking on the legal aspect of the changes, Gillett claims that their policy has not changed since 2005; but in case of changes, legal procedures will be carried out and laws will duly be followed.
The company clarified that the change made consists of shift to in-house hosting, which does not give Skype the ability to monitor or record conversations of its users – emphasizing that data that’s transferred during calls (audio and video) are only passed between the two Skype users and never through its servers.
Addressing the Issue
Skype has also made an attempt to address the claims made by the Washington Post, saying that Skype was actively monitoring instant messages during the chat. Although Gillett refuted the claim, but he accepted that messages are stored on their servers “temporarily” if the message can’t get through to another user – maintained that the company will respond to legitimate law enforcement requests – if they receive any – in regards to instant messages.
Rejecting all claims of spying, Gillett said the company also protects your conversations from other prying eyes, by applying the same encryption to messages that it always has – the only exception is the version of Skype available in China, which allows for a chat filter in accordance with laws of the country.
Although rumors are still circulating regarding Skype’s notorious act of spying, but it is expected that with Gillett’s open and explanatory note on the blog will help the company to regain the trust of its users, which is extremely essential for the future.